Whenever you hook up with a public Wi-Fi community, together with through your Android machine, you must use a digital personal community, or VPN, to guard your privateness. Norton Secure VPN (previously Norton WiFi Privacy) is an attractively and flexibly priced and simple Android VPN, and it does block adverts, nevertheless it would not impress in any other case. Given Norton Secure VPN’s poor performances in our assessments, underwhelming server providing, and bare-bones Android app, different VPN companies merely strike a greater steadiness between value and options.
What Is a VPN?
Most public Wi-Fi networks aren’t safe. Malicious customers can watch your community site visitors and probably intercept your personal knowledge. A layer of safety on your mobile connection can be worthwhile. 3G and LTE infrastructures are encrypted, however 2G has lengthy since been compromised. A talented-enough particular person might block connections to the previous two cell networks, after which pressure your cellphone to connect with the unsecured 2G bands utilizing a cell jammer and femtocell machine. You want to make use of a VPN to guard your self from all such threats.
When you hook up with a VPN community, your knowledge is encrypted and tunneled to a server managed by the VPN firm. In the method, your site visitors is obfuscated and your public-facing IP tackle adjustments to that of the server you chose. In less complicated phrases, a VPN makes your web exercise virtually uninterpretable and untraceable.
Still, a VPN, like each different sort of safety software program, is topic to failures and poor implementations. At the very least, you must confirm that your VPN shouldn’t be leaking your actual IP tackle. We additionally advocate utilizing a VPN alongside different privateness instruments, resembling a Tor browser or the EFF’s Privacy Badger extension. There’s no such factor as an ideal safety system, however a VPN is a superb first line of protection in opposition to potential network-based privateness intrusions. An excellent technique is to attempt to make your self as inconvenient a goal as attainable.
Pricing and Platforms
As talked about, Norton Secure VPN is priced competitively. The subscription price is dependent upon what number of gadgets it’s worthwhile to apply it to concurrently. For $4.99 per thirty days, you get protection on a single machine. To get assist for 5 or 10 gadgets concurrently, it’s worthwhile to pay $7.99 per thirty days and $9.99 per thirty days respectively. As with most VPNs, it can save you some cash by paying on an annual foundation. The costs per 12 months are $49.99 (one machine), $79.99 (5 gadgets), and $99.99 (10 gadgets). Additionally, you can too get Norton Secure VPN at a reduction for those who bundle it with different Norton merchandise.
All three value plans are decrease than the present class common of the highest Android VPNs we have examined. NordVPN is among the costliest choices, at $11.95 per thirty days for 5 licenses. Other companies are available less expensive; Private Internet Access, for instance is simply $6.95 per thirty days for a similar variety of licenses. Most VPNs don’t construction pricing across the variety of simultaneous connections you need to use, and plenty of supply extra connections with the bottom pricing tiers. For instance, IPVanish and CyberGhost permit for as much as 10 and 7 simultaneous connections, respectively. In any case, Norton Secure VPN proves that you simply needn’t pay rather a lot for a VPN; try our roundup of the perfect low cost VPNs for extra choices.
If you do not need to pay any month-to-month subscription prices, our roundup of the perfect free VPNs might curiosity you. ProtonVPN presently gives the perfect free service as a result of it doesn’t restrict the quantity of information you need to use. It does, nevertheless, prohibit you to utilizing it on a single machine and with particular servers.
In addition to Android (model 4.1 and later), Norton Secure VPN is offered for Windows, macOS, and iOS. Many different VPNs supply Linux purchasers, in addition to purchasers for different platforms, together with streaming sticks and recreation consoles, so Norton’s choices are restricted by comparability. Notably, Norton Secure VPN does embody the flexibility to dam advert trackers.
Servers and Server Locations
One of the first methods we consider a VPN service is predicated on the variety of servers and server areas it gives. The extra of every there can be found, the much less doubtless you might be to expertise vital slowdowns in your community efficiency as a result of overburdened servers or vital geographic distance.
At the time of publishing, Norton Secure VPN maintains round 1,500 servers, which doesn’t examine favorably with our prime Android VPNs. For comparability, NordVPN gives over 5,100 servers. Private Internet Access, TorGuard, and CyberGhost all supply over 3,000 servers. A number of others, resembling TunnelBear, ProtonVPN, and IPVanish supply fewer.
Norton Secure VPN maintains servers in 29 nations, which can be on the low finish. For comparability, NordVPN covers 62 nations and ExpressVPN covers 94 nations. A number of others cowl as many or fewer nations than Norton does. ProtonVPN and TunnelBear for instance supply servers in solely 27 and 20 nations, respectively.
You additionally ought to know whether or not your VPN supplier makes use of digital servers. Virtual servers are software-defined servers that may be configured to look as if positioned someplace aside from the place they’re bodily positioned. Multiple digital servers may also be spun up on current , thus probably inflating a VPN’s claimed server rely. Virtual servers introduce potential privateness and safety considerations. For occasion, your knowledge might move via bodily nodes in nations aside from those you meant to connect with, leaving a path of your metadata within the course of. Those nations might not have as strict person privateness protections.
Additionally, in case your VPN’s protocols or encryption aren’t applied accurately, your knowledge could possibly be inadvertently uncovered in these less-protective nations. Norton says that 1,200 of its 1,500 servers are digital. That stated, all the digital servers are positioned within the nation they declare, which addresses our predominant concern about this follow.
Norton Secure VPN’s privateness coverage is clearly defined on the Norton Privacy Notice web page. Up entrance, Norton explains that its Secure VPN is a no-logs VPN, which signifies that it doesn’t acquire any info or knowledge about your actions on the community. The service additionally doesn’t retailer your originating IP tackle. This is an effective follow.
Norton Secure VPN does acquire some info, together with “subscriber information and mobile device data, including device name, type, OS version, and language; aggregate bandwidth usage; and temporary usage data to assist with debugging a problem with the service.” We would favor that Norton Secure VPN acquire even much less info than the famous (notably the machine info), however most of those practices are normal fare for VPNs.
Norton is a division of Symantec, which is predicated in California. Thus, Norton falls below the authorized jurisdiction of the US. Norton says that if it had been to obtain an order from legislation enforcement at hand over person actions, it might not give you the option to take action. Norton additionally says that subscriptions are its solely income.
Note that the United States is a member of the 14 Eyes alliance. We aren’t utterly assured in our information of worldwide treaties to evaluate a VPN primarily based on this truth alone, however you must at the very least concentrate on this truth.
It is more and more widespread for VPN firms to endure third-party code audits to uncover any vulnerabilities. TunnelBear’s outcomes are public, and NordVPN and AnchorFree Hotspot Shield have additionally accomplished this course of. Norton additionally says it has undergone third-party evaluations, nevertheless it would not make the outcomes public.
Hands On With Norton Secure VPN
We downloaded the most recent model of Norton Secure VPN on a Google Pixel operating Android 9. We had no points downloading the app and logging in to our check account. We did not encounter any points with the app crashing or the VPN disconnecting. As a VPN is such an necessary protecting barrier between you and privateness threats, this is a vital consideration. The app’s structure is purposeful, although a bit uninteresting from a design standpoint.
You primarily navigate Norton’s Secure VPN app through the 4 icons on the underside bar of the display: Secure VPN, Regions, Ad Tracker, and WiFi Security. The predominant Secure VPN web page is fairly easy. In the center of the web page, you get a round Turn On VPN button. Below that, the app exhibits your connection standing. Once you provoke the connection, the connection button expands to point out your chosen VPN server location, your public-facing location, and IP tackle with the VPN.
Oddly, you may’t manually choose a server location till after your preliminary connection. Switching between areas is reasonably fast, however the server location record could be very fundamental. For instance, you can not view or choose particular person servers; alternatives are restricted to the area (nation) degree. There’s additionally no indication of server latency, which is disappointing.
The final two sections supply the one vital choices for the app. Here, you may toggle the Block Ad Tracker possibility and configure the VPN to activate mechanically whenever you hook up with an unsecured community. Both of those choices are enabled by default, and you must go away them enabled. These two settings do not essentially warrant a everlasting spot on the underside navigation bar, and we might fairly they be organized right into a devoted settings part, alongside lacking choices resembling connection protocol configuration, split-tunneling, and superior startup settings.
From anyplace within the app, you may hit the develop menu icon within the upper-left nook to entry some further sources. From this menu, you may add gadgets to your account, entry the Help part, or go to the FAQs. Norton’s app doesn’t embody a hyperlink to its privateness coverage, which is one thing we might wish to see.
How Fast Is Norton Secure VPN?
Using a VPN often has an impact in your web connection velocity, however its extent is dependent upon a number of elements, together with geographic location, out there servers, and machine sort. Accordingly, our outcomes ought to be taken as a comparative snapshot of Android VPN efficiency fairly than the ultimate phrase. If community velocity is your prime concern, our roundup of the quickest VPNs will curiosity you.
See How We Test VPNs
To check the velocity of Android VPNs, we run Ookla’s web velocity check app a number of instances to ascertain a baseline community efficiency with the VPN turned off. (Ookla’s Speedtest.web is owned by Ziff Davis, PCMag’s writer.) Next, we let the VPN hook up with the closest server (or change it to the closest US-based one), and rerun the assessments. We calculate the median of every class of outcomes and examine the p.c change between the values recorded with and with out a VPN connection. For every check, we use the obtain (Mbps), add (Mbps), and latency (ms) outcomes.
Norton Secure VPN turned in outcomes that had been next-to-last or final in all our assessments, which doesn’t bode properly for its efficiency. The VPN elevated latency by 1,675 p.c, decreased obtain and add speeds by 82.6 and 91.3 p.c, respectively. Note, nevertheless, that apart from the latency outcomes, none of those numbers is outlandishly out of line with the competitors.
For comparability, NordVPN, Private Internet Access, and Tiger VPN led the latency assessments, solely growing ping by 20 p.c. Speedify VPN took the highest spot in our obtain assessments, solely slowing down our connection by 3.4 p.c. NordVPN turned in the perfect outcomes for our add assessments, solely reducing speeds by 22.6 p.c.
Note that though some share adjustments might seem extra extreme than others, the real-world distinction might not really feel fairly so drastic. Speed is only one of many elements you must take into account when selecting a VPN, so do not low cost any VPNs solely due to subpar check outcomes. That stated, for those who want a VPN for gaming or different duties that completely require low latency, then these outcomes ought to issue into your alternative extra closely—latency particularly could also be a problem.
Does Norton Secure VPN Work With Netflix?
To check Netflix compatibility, we put in the most recent model of the Netflix app and Norton Secure VPN on a Nexus 5X operating Android 8.1, since we skilled playback points with our check Google Pixel on Android 9, even with out a VPN enabled. Norton Secure VPN didn’t trigger any issues with our streaming of Netflix.
However, even when your VPN and streaming service mixture presently works, there is no such thing as a assure that issues will keep suitable sooner or later. Many video streaming companies proceed to seek out new methods to detect and block VPN utilization. Of course, you may at all times disable a VPN when utilizing sure streaming companies or create an exception for it in case your VPN gives split-tunneling options, however know that your site visitors will not be encrypted.
Safe But Slow
Norton Secure VPN is a low-cost VPN that struggles to face out within the crowded area of Android VPNs. While we recognize the pliability of its pricing and its capability to dam adverts, it carried out poorly in our velocity assessments and would not supply as many servers and server areas as the highest choices within the class. Furthermore, its Android app lacks lots of the superior choices and pleasant touches of prime rivals. Our Editors’ Choices for Android VPNs are NordVPN, Private Internet Access, and TunnelBear. Those companies excel with their characteristic units, worth, and user-friendly interfaces.